Obrazy na stronie

guardian; or that he may take refoge in his high rank, from all the common obligations of human society. We think the reasoning of Mr. Brougham (pp. 24-26), which we have already quoted, unanswerable on this subject.

Another point on which Mr. Brougham's opponent dwells, is the competency of the existing means for redressing the abuses of which he complains. Let us hear the account given by himself of these existing remedies. In the first place, "any private individual who thinks that a charity has been abused, may file an information in the name of the Attorney-General." In the next place,

"There is an Act of Parliament, the $2d George III. c. 101, which enables any individual to present a petition to the Lord Chancellor, or the Master of the Rolls, or the Barons of the Exche quer, complaining of any abuse of a charitable fund-which act provides that the case may be heard in a sum mary way, upon affidavits, without the forms of pleading in equity; and all the proceedings upon it are by the act exempted from the stamp duties. That the utmost expense of such a proceeding might be 501.; that this would be a large demand; and that, whilst on information, the defendant might protract the proceedings for a great length of time, and might increase the expense very considerably; in a proceeding under this act he would have no means of doing it. Here, therefore, is a legal remedy applicable certainly to a very large head of existing abuses of chari. table endowments, and applicable certainly to all those cases which came before the attention of the Committee, and which the honourable chairman has

published as the postscript of his letter." Letter to Scott, pp. 27, 28.

Now, as the proceeding by information is to subject the charity to all the burdens, delays, and expenses of the Court of Chancery, no man of common sense will deem this a fit remedy for the evil. The profound knowledge, the unwearied patience, the serupulous integrity, of the judge presiding, at the preent moment, in that court, none

will dispute. Neither will any court of law find it easy to produce names worthy to be brought into comparison with those of Harcourt, King, Talbot, Hardwick, Camden, Thurlow, and Loughborough, who were among his predecessors. But, notwithstanding this constellation of great names, that court is the scarecrow of the law, and the terror of every reasonable man who finds himself treading on its verge. Innumerable are the charities which have already sunk into that awful chasm, not to escape from it till, perhaps, both plaintiffs and defendants have gone to give in their account at a still higher tribunal. One cause of this kind has already been detained in chancery upwards of a century. However wisely the constitution of this conrt may be adapted for the accomplishment of certain most important objects, it labours under defects which unfit it for applying a ready and effectual remedy to the evils we are considering. It cannot receive parole evidenceit cannot call witnesses into open court to be sifted and cross examined, to be contradicted if wrong, and duly reprehended if absurd, or inaccurate, or prolix, or evasive, Can such a court be adapted for the prosecution of causes in which no one is interested but paupers, their interests? Can starving men who cannot pay for the care of wait for the tardy steps of such a tribunal? And can prosecutors be expected to ruin themselves in endeavouring to rescue their poor neighbours?

As to the mode of proceeding by "petition," surely the letter writer might have known that his statements are in the highest degree inaccurate. Without touching on other points, it is sufficient to say, that in a very considerable number of cases, those who have sought redress for charitable abuses, have been obliged to resort to the old mode of infor mation, from discovering the inefficacy of that which was designed to supply its place. That the old

mode was incompetent to the end in view is proved by the creation of the new. That the new mode is inefficacious, is evidenced by the necessity of recurring to the old.

have been over it, and seen it several times, and I have no doubt of that being about the valuation, was it not leased out, or more.

Whatever may be the theory on this subject, of the actual inconveniences existing in the way of be. nevolent individuals who desire to examine into the abuses of charitable institutions with a view to their redress, the Appendix affords several such specimens as would make persons of ordinary nerves shrink from such a task. For example:

"To Mr. Watts.] Did you go into the Court of Chancery soon after the year 1802? We instituted proceedings there

in 1804.

"How long were you in Chancery?— We are not out yet; we have paid twelve or thirteen hundred pounds, and only received about three hundred from the town.

"Have you found that court afford you relief? Oh, it has ruined me.

"Have you found the expenses heavy? -Oh, I have wished myself out of the world a thousand times since I have got into it; it has entirely ruined me; I had a nice business, which brought me in four or five hundred a year, which it has ruined; and I have now a wife and family.

“To Mr. Welmington.] Have you suf. fered any thing in this court? My heart is almost broken; indeed my nerves are so shook by the losses I have sustained by this proceeding, that I scarcely know what I am speaking of, and I have a wife and eight children; it is the most grievous thing to me, I have ever known; I was a churchwarden only two years. "To Mr.Collins.] What have you found the Court of Chancery to be? It has cost me about 500l. and I am afraid I do not know the worst of it yet; I suppose the other party will bring in a bill against


"To Mr. Watts.] By whose desire did you institute the proceedings?-By an order of the vestry.”

"It is, according to your estimate, estates, some in hand, and some on leases, to the amount of upwards of 2000l. a year, that ought to be applied to four charitable purposes in Yeovil? -Yes, I know the property well; I

"How came you to be so much money out of pocket, and that you have not reimbursed yourself out of the rate?— Many of the trustees would not pay a farthing.

"Have you any means of reimbursing yourself?-Only by the Court of Chancery; the parish is in our debt about 5234 as on the church book.

"Have you ever levied a rate for it? -They will not grant any thing.

"Do you mean to say, that you having been ousted of your place as churchwarden by the opposite party, in consequence, as you represent, of having taken part in these inquiries, they being in possession of the offices, refuse to levy a rate to reimburse you?—Yes.


Might you not have brought your action against your successors of the parish generally?-Yes, but what can we do; we have no money to go to law with, we have spent so much already.

"Do you mean to represent, that having found the Court of Chancery so expensive you were unwilling to go to further expense?-We cannot go further; we have dropped every thing. There was a man who promised to pay his share, amounting to fifty pounds of that 500l.; I went to law with him; it came on at the last assizes, and it cost me nearly 2001.

"Did you recover the fifty pounds? No, they said it could not be done, because it was not out of Chancery.

"How much has it cost yon altogether for your proceedings in Chancery and at law?-About 1,2001. besides our trouble and travelling expenses 2nd about 2001. at the assizes the other day.

have you gained for the charity?—It is "For this 1,400/. and upwards, what almost as bad as ever it was. There is little or no difference, and we suppose, we have our opponents to pay likewise.

"How long have you been in the Court of Chancery?-Ever since 1805; it is complete ruination; it is worse now than ever it was, as the attorney employed is dead.

"Is the case heard, and does it stand for judgment; is it ready to be decided? It is in no state at all, that we know of; it is not two-pence better than it was at first." Appendix, pp. 78, 79.

It is possible there may have been some exaggeration in this case,

Many of the difficulties mentioned by the witnesses may have arisen from their own unskilfulness or that of their agents, and a part of the persecution experienced by them, may have originated in their own intemperance of conduct. We do not mean to insinuate that such was really the fact; but we are willing to admit that it may have been so in this and in other instances; and we would derive from the concession one of the strongest arguments for the necessity of a parliamentary commission. For, if it be true that few persons can be found willing to undertake the ungrateful office of informers in such cases-that those who do so will inevitably be harassed both at home and in chancery, with the almost certain prospect of being annoyed, with all the vexatious arts of petty warfare, by their neighbours, and at last, perhaps, be oblig. ed, after expending their time and property, to retreat for want of resources, or of information which none but the interested parties have it in their power to give then, assuredly, it cannot be doubted that the legislature itself ought to take up the subject, and to interpose in a contest in which private individuals would be borne down by the arts and obloquy of interested oppression.

Having thus endeavoured to dis pose of the general arguments of the pamphlet, we should have been glad to have gone into some of the particular cases to which it refers.

Almost all the statements before the Committee having been ex parte, it was to be expected that many of them might prove incorrect and exaggerated, ard might also bear unfairly on the character of individuals. It would appear, from subsequent statements, that there is ground to suspect that this may have been the case in several of the examples selected by Mr Brougham, for insertion in his Appendix. In some instances also, he seems to us to have pressed even this partial testimony beyond its fair and legitimate bearing; and in one

But our space and time forbid. Indeed, some of our readers will think an apology due from us for the present extension of an argument of a more secular nature than is usually found in our pages. We trust that the peculiar impor tance of the controversy will be We our sufficient justification. shall conclude with offering a very few general remarks on the whole question, as placed before us by the two able writers of the letters which we have endeavoured to examine.

In the first place, we are disposed to congratulate the public on the earnestness with which the subject is debated. It is an evideuce, we trust, of the state of the public feeling-of the conviction entertained by thinking and leading men in the country, that every question touching on the rights of the poor, on the cause of religion and morality, or on the extension of education, will be regarded with deep and solemn interest by the by-standers. We conceive this to be a new feature of the age. When Sir Samuel Romilly, many years since, introduced the bill for pro ceeding in the case of charitable abuses by petition, he found it next to impossible to produce any movement in the public mind. Now, so strong and general a feeling is excited on the subject, that edition after edition has appeared of the pamphlets which relate to it. This change is, we trust, the work of God. Single individuals may, from mere caprice, without the influence of religious motives, take up a question of morality and benevolence; but when a nation' is thus excited, it is, generally speak.

instance, that of Winchester, we cannot help thinking that he has wholly miscon ceived the tenor of the documentary evidence. All this, however, is so far from being a reason against inquiry, that we think it lays an additional ground for it. A prima facie case calling for it has, most undoubtedly, been estab. lished by Mr. Brougham.

ing, we would hope, an evidence of at lest a considerable extension of genuine piety. "The fruit of the Spirit is charity." This increase of benevolence we therefore could wish to hail as a symptom of advancement in a still nobler course, -a course which leads not merely to the temporal relief, but the spiritual comfort and eternal salvation of the community.

But if we congratulate the country on the one hand, we would caution it on the other. It is difficult not to discern in the present production of Mr. Brougham's pen, and in others proceeding from the same school, a certain audacity of statement, if we may use the expression without offence, which approaches to inaccuracy, and a harshness in the imputation of motives to opponents which does not become a candid controversia list. We cannot, for instance, believe for a moment, that his Majesty's ministers mean all the mischief which Mr. Brougham would insinuate of them in the present pamphlet. They have, we think, been wanting in consideration for the country, and in discretion to them selves, by suffering this commission to be shorn of its powers. But we are not, on this account, disposed to think that the ministers of the Crown are indifferent to the interests of the poor; indeed, we are persuaded of the contrary. And we trust that the Commissioners may, after all, disappoint the public apprehensions; and supply their deficiency of power by the wisdom and energy with which they em ploy all that is entrusted to them. There are other parts of Mr. Brougham's charges and insinua tions to which we feel the same objection. He seems too apt to presume both on the necessary correctness of his own opinions, and on the mulus animus of those who differ from him. It is a great rule, as he well knows, in rhetoric, not to irritate men before we begin to argue with them.-There is one

ground on which we feel espe cially disposed to complain of Mr. Brougham's line of proceeding, and which has been already touched upon in the preceding note. Many of his arguments as a writer, and much even of his inquiry as chair. man of the committee, are pointed at the supposed misapplication of the funds in the great public schools of this kingdom. It must be admitted, that few of those who are instructed in these seminaries can be regarded, in the common usage of that term, as pauperes; by which term, however, the persons to be taught are frequently described in the language of the founders of these institutions. But then, it is evident, from the original documents of most of these founders, that those described as pauperes are of a very different class from those whom we should now designate as "the poor." Take, for example, the case of Winchester. The persons 10 be instructed there are, it is true, "pauperes et indigentes:" but then they are, "pauperes et indigentes scholares clerici, bonis moribus et conditionibus perornati—ad stu dium habiles-conversatione honesti-in lectura, plano cantu, et antiquo Donato competenter instructj." Now, whatever may have been the case in the times of the founders, such are the actual cir cumstances of the country, that few, if any, of the really pauperes would either answer to this description or consider it as a benefit to be taught the learned languages, with a view to the priesthood. We are well convinced that one of the main causes, which empties the school. houses in many of the towns and villages of the country, is, that the rules of the founders prescribe a course of education incompatible with the habits of those who are the only persons likely to profit from charitable assistance. In ge neral, only persons of a certain rank in life pursue these studies; and such refuse to benefit from elee. mosynary education. Now these cirs

cumstances ought, we think, to have been noticed by Mr. Brough am; because, in some cases at least, they seem to relieve the trustees from all implication of blame.

Our remarks, however, are not intended to shelter those trustees who might, without violence to their foundation, have placed their course of studies on a more popu Jar and useful footing; or who, with the unexpected increase of their funds, might have provided for such existing demands for edueation as might be not contrary to, but beyond, what the founder supposed possible or necessary. The injunction that a master shall teach Latin and Greek does not seem necessarily to prohibit his teaching, in addition to these, EngFish, and writing, and arithmetic, where the ability to do all can be secured by a proper management of the funds.

With regard, indeed, to the great public schools, we are far from wishing, in the present state of society, to see them relapse into "charity schools," in the common sense of the term. The proper class of pauperes to enjoy the benefits of such establishments, consists of the sons of persons in respectable life, with Jarge families and limited incomes, persons raised far above the reception of ordinary relief, but to whom honourable assistance may not be unwelcome. The sons of clergymen, and gentlemen with mo derate life incomes, come particularly within this class; and such, we imagine, in point of fact, will be found, very frequently, to be the description of persons who enjoy the pecuniary benefits of our great public schools, and were, probably, the very persons specially pointed at by the founder of Winchester College, in the above description.

We feel that this paper is stretching itself to an undue extent; yet, we cannot forget, amidst our congratulations and cautions, to offer

to the public our sincere condo lence for the loss of the illustrious individual to whom the letter of Mr. Brougham is addressed. Since we began to apply ourselves to the minute consideration of this controversy, that distinguished lawyer, senator, orator, patriot, and philanthropist, is no more. We will not touch upon the awful circum. stances of his death; or upon the decision of the tribunal to which the investigation of these circum stances was confided. But we can. not help advertmg to the truly emphatic lesson, taught by this awful catastrophe, on the vanity of all human possessions. A few months since, and every corner of the metropolis, we had almost said of the country, rang with the name of Sir Samuel Romilly. Those in volved in litigation felt no security of success till he was enlisted on their side. A large party in Parliament waited with anxiety for the declaration of his opinions. The eyes of the nation were fixed upon him as the great Reformer of our Criminal Law, and, perhaps, of our Chancery Courts. Schools, prisons, hospitals, the ignorant, the guilty, the wretched, looked to him for shelter, and guidance, and sym pathy. And now, in one short moment he has passed to his narrow grave, and has searcely escaped, by a verdict of lunacy, from the last dishonours which the living can inflict on the dead. We mean to pronounce no sentence on the life or death of one whom we most highly venerated, and whose loss we most sincerely deplore: but we are anxious that the benefit of the striking example he has afford. ed should not be wholly lost. We would only ask, then, where are his honours now? To what a nothing has the garland of his glories shrunk? How, how are the mighty fallen! To us his death has been invested with peculiar melancholy from the circumstance that, to all appearance at least, no attempt was made to shed the beams of heaven

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